There are some things all smart-minded agriculture professionals could agree with and likely most people outside of agriculture businesses would agree with as well. With the upcoming farm bill, proposal and the fact that everybody sent to Washington to represent the best interests of the population, we are certain of only one thing: uncertainty. There is no certainty that Farm Bill will pass, and no certainty as to what it will contain.
Despite the uncertainty, there are multiple aspects to the Farm Bill worthy of attention. As Farm Credit fulfills its mission to its members and the agriculture and rural communities, the association remains mindful of the entire Bill to be a source of knowledge and support for the diversified agriculture industry the association supports. Of particular interest are the USDA FSA Farm Loan Programs that provide some unique access to credit and offer opportunities to farmers and ranchers.
The FSA Farm Loan Programs focus on real and emerging needs in the marketplace to meet some of the following market demands. These programs help farmers and ranchers become stronger and more viable to meet traditional credit standards, and in many cases support the next generation of farmers. The FSA programs offer support on the following:
• Start, improve, expand, transition, market, and strengthen family farming and ranching operations
• Beginning farmers, racial and ethnic minority farmers and women producers
• Value-added, direct sale, organic, and specialty crop operations
• Young people actively involved in agricultural youth organizations needing financial assistance for income-producing, educational, agricultural projects
• Urban farmers and roof-top producers
• Operations using alternative farming methods such as hydroponics, aeroponics, vertical farming and freight container farming
A major component of these programs for Farm Credit is the FSA "Beginning Farmer" direct and guaranteed loan programs. These loans intend to provide access to land and capital, operating loans, open doors to new market opportunities, diversify operations and more. You will discover many activities Farm Credit promotes inspires young and beginning farmers through numerous associations, like GreenStone’s mentorship, grant and scholarship programs, as well as grass roots efforts at local FFA chapters, 4-H clubs, and county fairs. These activities create the sparks for the creation of our future agriculture and rural community leaders. The USDA programs, together with the Farm Credit leadership and implementation planning, maintain strong advocacy and involvement in promoting these activities and programs as the lifeblood to a future for the United States and beyond.
All these activities and programs find their path to grow further for a strong future and create the reason for maintaining strong legislation contained in the Farm Bill. Farm Credit supported the amendment to increase the current limitation on the Farm Service Agency (FSA) guaranteed loan program from $1.39 million to $2.5 million. Many legislators received the information regarding the fact FSA programs are already underfunded and increasing the limit too greatly could cause the funding to be used up by fewer, larger farmers, preventing small and beginning farmers from accessing the program. The amendment was adopted and the final bill will reflect the $1.75 million limit. This should increase access for the next generation of American farmers.
Link to the full Legislative Matters article: